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Kendall-Jackson Founder Retires

November 21, 2000|MELINDA FULMER

Jess Jackson, 70, the founder of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, announced his resignation Monday, turning the Santa Rosa, Calif.-based company's top spot over to his wife, Barbara Banke, who helped him found the company winery nearly 20 years ago.

Banke will assume the role of chairwoman and continue her role as president of Kendall-Jackson's Cambria Winery. The Jackson family will continue to own the company, which posted $346 million in sales last year.

Jackson had been preparing for his retirement for years, hiring former Hewlett-Packard Co. head Lew Platt as chief executive in January and last month naming Jean Arnold, a veteran wine industry executive to the CEO position at Jackson Family Farms, a management group that helps operate the family's collection of boutique wineries up and down the state.

Last month, Forbes magazine named Jackson, with an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, its first "vino-billionaire."

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